Saturday, May 18, 2013

Music to clean guns by

OK, it's Saturday night, and time to do what I should have done a few days ago: put some music on, crack a beer and clean "The Pig".
We shot it, and I put it up dirty, meaning to get back to it. I dithered a few days, but now it's time.

I apologize in advance for the crappy pictures. I ran out of batteries for my dedicated camera and I'm doing these off my iPhone. But the music's good. Tonight, we're doing Meatloaf.

And the beer: Yeungling.

Step one: Barrel off. Rotate this little catch 90 degrees and remove the barrel assembly.

Those of you familiar with the older M60's will see some differences here, this being the newer M60E4, or more accurately, the MK43 Mod 0. It's the upgraded version now in use by the Navy special teams. This one started out as a stock model but it was worn out and beat to the point of being unsafe when I got it (and the seller knew it but swore that it was in great shape) so I sent it out to Desert Ordnance, which is the civilian sales side of US Ordnance, the company the rebuilds the M60 for the Navy. They completely rebuilt my shot-out old junker and sent me this one back--a zero-time, brand new gun (with a factory warranty) and fixes for all of the problems that the old M60 was known for. So that being the case, if you are used to seeing the traditional 60, bear in mind that this one's going to be a mite different. And the barrel assembly above is a great example of that. It's tougher, lighter, shorter, and it comes with a fully adjustable front sight post, which means that spare barrels can be zeroed to the gun in advance. Plus, the carry handle is on the barrel, so you can grab it when changing barrels. Also, to reduce the weight of the spare barrels, the bipod is now mounted to the gun, not each barrel.

The buttstock is shorter and lighter, too. But it comes right off, and then you can pull the retaining clip out, take out the buffer assembly, and pull the drive spring out, just like the original.

Then the bolt and operating rod come out. These are seriously improved metallurgically, and good for about 30,000 round each now, instead of being virtually disposable like the old ones.

The top cover and feed guide come out just like always. The top cover is improved now in that is allows the cover to be slammed shut on an ammo belt without damaging it. It also has about 30% more pulling power on the belt.

Next, the retaining spring is removed and the trigger assembly comes off. This also is lighter and improved with the addition of an ambidextrous safety.

So, with the trigger assembly removed from the gun, I naturally turned it upside down only to hear that sound that every amateur gunsmith fears: the clink of some mystery part falling out of it's place before you saw what it was or how it sat in place.

Yep, there on the floor sat the gun's sear. Fortunately function and wear patterns pretty much indicate how it's supposed to be, so after double-checking with the gun's spare trigger pack and having another beer, I put the sear back in where it was supposed to go.

With all of the components removed, all you have left is the receiver with the operating rod tube, rear sight and ammo hanger. It's pretty easy to clean this out.

Then I work on the barrel assembly. The bore gets cleaned and the gas system gets taken apart. Again, many changes to this area. The gas system has a nice retaining ring set-up which eliminates the need for the safety wire that used to be necessary to keep the gun from disassembling itself, and the gas piston has been modified--it can go in either way and still run, so no more worrying about putting it in backwards and creating a 23lb. single-shot rifle like was commonly done with the old style sixty.

Everything gets scrubbed and oiled, and then I put it all back together. Then I had another beer.

Perfect...oh wait--what's that on the floor?

Please God, please don't let that be an M60 part...please.

It was. It was a small plunger, with a spring beside it. I didn't have to be Kreskin to figure out where that came from. Sure enough--a quick check of the spare trigger pack showed me that I was looking at the sear plunger and spring. Yeah, just great. So the trigger pack came pack off the gun and the sear came back out, and there was an empty hole where the plunger assembly should have been. Derp.

Trigger pack re-assembled and re-installed on the gun again, and it passed it's function check flawlessly. Yay, me. Just as well, too. The beer's all gone and I'm starting to feel like a General Motors line worker here. So that concludes our Saturday Night gun cleaning session.


  1. Is all the stuff I see about the old M60's running away true?

    Seems to be a theme in a lot of literature where the gun just won't shut down until it's empty.

  2. I still remember the asbestos gloves they issued us for barrel changes. I still burned my hands.

  3. I assume your A4 was originally an A1 manufactured prior to 1984.

    The "pig's" a great weapon. I trained on them back in the mid-60's.

    With the A4 mod I suspect it's lost some weight (good) and is easier to handle on full auto.

    Good luck with it.

  4. @ drjim: The old sixtys used to have that problem, but the operating rod has been redesigned and has a second sear notch to prevent that. Simple fix to a runaway gun though--just grab the ammo belt and twist it. It'll stop.

    @ Toejam: Yep--It's lost 5lbs. from the old days, making it about 10lbs. lighter than the current M240 gun that was supposed to replace it. This one was an old Charlie Erb gun once, but Desert Ord stripped it down to the bare trunnion (and they re-machined and heat-treated that) and then they rebuilt it with all new spec. parts. So the trunnion is 1980's produced but everything else on the gun is 2011. Literally a new gun, and built to be fielded by one operator, not two, like in the old days. I've written about it a few times along the way. Click on "M60" at the bottom of the post to see the rest of the story.

  5. Brings back old memeories of JP4 I always hated cleaning those dang guns after a mission.

  6. Nice, especially when it function checks AFTER cleaning... And yes one does need all those 'little' things... :-) Thanks for the update notes too!

  7. Queen: "Break Free"

  8. What did the conversion cost? That seems like a good investment. Erb built some nice guns. And it comes with a warranty?! Never heard of that. A friend has a FN that broke rivets and they wouldn't fix it.